Test anxiety plagues many students, regardless of age or experience. It is a common issue and completely normal when experienced in a moderate degree.
By definition, test anxiety is a form of performance anxiety, or anxiety that occurs due to a fear that your performance will be flawed or insufficient. Test anxiety, then, is very similar to another common form of performance anxiety: stage fright.
Thinking of Test Anxiety in a Different Way
How, then, does knowing this help you in your battle against test anxiety? If you think of test anxiety as a form of stage fright, you can view it differently and thus come up with new and, hopefully, more effective ways of dealing with it.
Many performers never completely conquer stage fright. Instead, they find ways to deal with it and bring it under control. Some performers have even learned to use stage fright to heighten and add intensity to their performance. Such an approach can work to manage test anxiety as well.
Bringing Test Anxiety Under Control
Thinking of test anxiety in these terms can help you recast your thinking in such a way as to bring the anxiety under your control. Consider how your favorite performers battle stage fright and see if their methods might work for you. Some possibilities include:
- Developing a “pre-show” routine to settle your mind right before the test.
- Choosing a good luck charm to bring along to help you focus and calm yourself.
- Finding a “test partner” and working with him or her to acknowledge and conquer your test anxiety.
Any of these approaches to overcoming test anxiety can be helpful on test day. In addition, as does any good performer, you should study your material ahead of time so that you will be able to give your best effort on exam day.